Category Archives: Nature, Photography, Videos

Yes, I’m a cheesy actor. Thanks for noticing.

Okay, there’s no more denying it.  I’m one of those cheesy actor types.  Now that hundreds of Park Avenue Baptist Church members have seen the Father’s Day service introduction video that I did last weekend, the cat is totally out of the bag.

over-acting

In case you want to watch it for yourself and make fun of me later, here is the video on YouTube: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ufa2s215dQ video-still

Or you can just watch it right here:

Mockingbird Nest with Eggs

While trimming our landscaping yesterday, a mockingbird surprised me and flew out of our Bougainvillea bush right outside our front door.  Turns out there was a nest in there with three eggs.  I snapped a couple photos and went on with my yard work.  Those mockingbirds are pretty fearless.  When I was edging and trimming with my gas powered trimmer, she stayed in the nest and did not leave the eggs.  That’s pretty brave for a bird, because that trimmer is really loud!  So I was able to snap another photo with momma mockingbird sitting on the nest.

Click on these thumbnails to see larger versions:

01-mockingbirdnest

.   02-mockingbirdeggsinnest

STS-125 Shuttle Launch (from VAB roof)

I worked at the NASA press site today in support of STS-125, the final Hubble servicing mission. The press site was really busy for this mission. Usually I escort media personnel to various locations for various reasons. To my surprise, today I was asked to escort some of the press photographers to the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to photograph the launch. Wow! What an opportunity! It was a great launch and it went right on time. Here are some photos that I took from the top of the VAB. Click on each thumbnail for a larger version.

. STS-125 from VAB roof

. STS-125 from VAB roof

. STS-125 from VAB roof

. STS-125 from VAB roof

. STS-125 from VAB roof

. STS-125 from VAB roof

2009 Daytona 500 NASCAR Race

Well, it was a long and hard day, but it was totally worth it!  What a great experience it was to attend the Daytona 500 race in person and to be able to see and hear and smell and experience it firsthand.  Below is a short 3 minute video on YouTube that I created from short video clips on my digital camera.

Being in the pre-race show (http://www.leucht.com/blog/2009/02/daytona-500-pre-race-show-practice-day/), I had to arrive in the parking lot at 7:30am and check in at the infield pre-race compound at 8am.  They fed us some pre-packaged muffins for breakfast and set us loose in the infield and told us to come back at noon.  So we basically had almost 4 hours to walk around and be tourists.  I checked out the Fan Zone and the pit area and then I suddenly found myself on Fox & Friends After the Show Show (http://www.foxnews.com/video2/video08.html?maven_referralObject=3606113).  There were lots of reporters running around interviewing people before the race.

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I was able to look into some of the garages while the crews were preparing their cars for the race.  [Click on any of the photos for higher resolution versions.]

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The fans could also view the inspection area where cars were getting weighed and measured and inspected thoroughly to make sure they were following the NASCAR rules.

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While I was milling around, they let the Fan Zone crowd out onto the track and onto the grass between the pits and the grandstands.  That was really cool.  The track is banked at 31 degrees there at the finish line, which is pretty impressive when you’re right there trying to walk up and down it.

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Also, fans were allowed to sign the Start/Finish line.

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I didn’t do a great job signing my name.  The bumpy asphalt was pretty hard to write on.

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One stretch of pit road was open for fans to walk around and look at the pit boxes and equipment.  Here is a photo of Jimmie Johnson’s (Team Lowe’s Racing) pit area.

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Here is a photo of some of the Team Lowe’s pit tools.  These were on the side facing the car … there were more tools on the opposite side too.

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Here is a photo of the back side of the pit box of Dale Earnhardt Jr.  You can see they’ve got all the tires laid out and marked as to where they go on the car.

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Back in the Fan Zone, fans got to ask Elliott Sadler questions before the race.

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Time went pretty fast with all the activities and such. Then it was time to line up and get ready for the pre-race show at 2:30pm.  There were about 1500 volunteer “performers” in this show.  Most of the choreography involved simply walking from spot to spot and unfurling a banner.  Pretty simple stuff.  Here’s a photo of me waiting for the word to walk out onto the field.

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I took this photo during the finale of the show.

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I snapped this photo of Keith Urban during the pre-race show.  He’s in a yellow t-shirt standing on a little mini-stage in the middle of the crowd.

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About an hour after the pre-race show, the race actually started.  Took a while to remove the stage and clean up everything.  Here’s a photo of the leaderboard and jumbotron as the race was starting.

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I watched most of the race from the pit area.  It was pretty exciting and full of activity.

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At one point in the race, Jeff Gordon was having some sort of trouble and people started passing him.  He came in for a pit stop…

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… and his tires were in pretty bad shape.  You could see bubbling and the tread was starting to come off.

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Another shot of the old tires.

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Tom Cruise attended the race and watched it from Jeff Gordon’s pit box.

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The Cheerios team getting ready for the next pit stop.

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This picture shows a pit crew member measuring and recording the tread thickness across the face of a used tire.

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I went up and down the pits all evening, but decided that this was the view of the race that I liked the best.

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Soon after I snapped the above photo, it started sprinkling. Soon after that, the race was stopped and then eventually the race was called due to the rain. After the race was over and everyone was packing up, I caught Tony Stewart in his pit.

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An emotional Matt Kenseth won the race by being in first place when the race was red flagged and then called due to rain.

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After the winners circle ceremony I snapped this photo of the winner, Matt Kenseth, getting interviewed by the Speed Network.

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My last photo of the night.  Here were the final standings at the end of the 51st Daytona 500.

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My long day finally ended and then I had to wait in line for an hour and a half for a bus ride to the parking lot, then I had to drive all the way home. I drove all the way to Titusville on US1 because I-95 was pretty packed and not moving at full speed as far as I could tell.

It was a long hard day, but it was very interesting and pretty fun, so I think I may do it again next year.

Thanks for reading,

Kurt